Though most drugs are thought of as big-city problems, methamphetamines are something that have spared no one in their scourge. In Missouri, meth labs have proliferated the countryside and meth use has spread into the cities and small towns alike. A recent article and series of interactive maps at PolicyMic.com illustrates how our state is outpacing most others in meth labs and overall damage from the drug.
In 2012, 1,825 meth labs were seized in Missouri, second only to Tennessee. These labs are largely found in rural areas, even if the drugs are later sent throughout the state and even across state lines.
Jefferson has one of the highest concentrations of meth-lab seizures in the country, second to Tulsa County, OK. In Jefferson County, there was 37,295 ounces seized by local law enforcement in 2011.
Meth is simple to make. It’s a dangerous job, but one that can be lucrative if you turn out a “high quality” product. When things go wrong in a meth lab, however, you risk burns and disfigurement from chemical explosions and fires.
Law enforcement agencies across the state have spent millions on fighting methamphetamine use and distribution. And while they’ve managed to clamp down on some of the ingredients and even make the penalties for meth possession more severe, the drug has remained.
When asked what drug poses the largest threat, law enforcement agencies from across the country regularly said meth. A quarter of them, in fact, said methamphetamines were a larger problem than cocaine, heroin, marijuana or prescription drugs.
Part of the reason meth labs are such a problem is that meth is so addictive. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found 1.2 million people reported using meth in the past year. While that’s less than half of one percent of the population, it’s still a good portion of people. The average age of a new meth user is 19.7 years old. And as these young adults hit an age where they are exercising their new independence, this drug can rip that independence and freedom away.
There are solutions. Even when you are charged with methamphetamine possession or manufacturing, you have options. Some of these options could even help you kick the habit. We may be able to help.